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Tim said in September 24th, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Good assessment. The annual pilgrimage is not what it once was. We have attended every year since 1998. Shooting from the hip, I would say about a thousand people participated in each of the first several years we attended. I always wanted to see larger numbers, but try as I may, getting people to go is like pulling teeth. I am convinced that the devil is in the details. I have come away each year spiritually rejuvenated and encouraged by the camaraderie of fellow traditional Catholics. It seemed a lot better when the concluding day with the final short walk was Sat. And yes, it was better when we started that day at the Kateri shrine instead of in the hay field. The route has now changed, with less public visibility of our Catholic manifestation. And people seem to be voting with their feet. But I will continue to go and I pray that it will be revived.

Pilgrimage Director said in September 25th, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Tim is right, “the devil is in the details”. He lurks there precisely to scare people from looking into them, which is the only way to establish facts, instead of stringing impressions together.

I and other organizers grant — indeed, anticipated — that all the impressions you mention indicate a net loss for those who arrive the last day. But the same changes have given rise to a remarkable net gain overall, which is why the changes were made.

It is in the prolonged, often quiet times of pilgrimage when new conversions are experienced and old ones deepened; when the communion of the saints, penance, discipleship and reparation are revealed & experienced in dimensions never dreamt of in the comfort of one’s home (or when out for a short walk on a Saturday afternoon); when vocations to the priesthood & religious life — and not a few sacred matrimonies, too — are sometimes discovered, often discerned and always deepened. On the pilgrimage blog there is, for example, a photo of a bishop with some cloistered nuns whose vocations, thank God, were found (or the fires fanned) on the ‘long’ way to Auriesville. There are currently three seminarians (far as I know) at Our Lady of Guadalupe seminary whose vocations, they say, were kindled on the days of pilgrimage. After a decade, another young pilgrim of the three-day jaunt returned two years ago — from his mission in Africa, to give the sermon at the final Mass.

I wish, dear Stuart, you had interviewed me before writing. Of course there is one kind of taste that likes chocolate and another vanilla. In that there is hardly matter for disagreement. But there is another taste that is the refinement of judgment. Had you asked why we organizers made the decisions which have changed the flavor of the last day, your post might have enticed someone to give the other a try, and in turn lead to saving more souls — even while losing more soles — in the footsteps of the martyrs.

Respectfully & gratefully yours in Christ,
Greg Lloyd

Tim said in September 29th, 2013 at 12:20 am

Thanks for your encouraging words Greg. If the route changes have have resulted in a net gain overall, then mission accomplished. Just wish there were more people attending who could be benefiting by the graces and camaraderie. Like I say, trying to get people to attend is like pulling teeth. They don’t know what they’re missing.

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